HIPAA Compliant Medical Billing Software

Humans or HIPAA?

When it comes to healthcare organizations addressing the HIPAA compliance of their business, many feel prepared and comfortable, readily checking that “compliant” box. But addressing the human part of security falls by the wayside too often.  Compliance and cybersecurity, which includes human security, both need to be a part of your overall strategic plan.

“If I have security, I’m ok with compliance, right?”  No, but you’re not alone in assuming that addressing one will take care of the other.  It is an easy mistake to make, and one that many healthcare businesses too often make.  Compliance and cybersecurity work together to keep you up, running and protected from a technical and federal regulations standpoint, but address different components.

When This Doesn’t Mean That

HIPAA compliance will take care of the laws and regulations that you need to adhere to.  Cybersecurity addresses the gaps or weaknesses in a business that makes that entity vulnerable to hackers.  If a breach occurs, your HIPAA compliance will be addressed by government agencies to make sure you were in accordance, and this will protect you legally in some respects.  So, in this regard, they work together to protect you, but cybersecurity must be your first line of defense.

With an increased value being put on healthcare data by cybercriminals, the target gets bigger every day on the business’s back.  Right alongside those increased values is the matching rise in the number of data breaches each year.  Healthcare data is sold for 10-20 times that of stolen credit card numbers, so where do you think hackers are focusing?  Just like most businesses, they go where the money is.  To add to the damage being done, they are not just focused on data theft, but also overall disruption to the business with targeted employee attacks.

Healthcare must begin to look at cybersecurity with the same reverence that they hold HIPAA compliance in.  Protecting your business and patient data should be an effort that combines both strategies.  If your IT provider isn’t discussing this with you, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t doing it already, but don’t assume. Ask questions, work together and make a plan that secures your business as a whole, not just segments of it.

 

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A Toothache Beyond Repair

Hackers have used the very software that hundreds of dentists relied on to run their business, to bring it to their knees.  A ransomware attack is responsible for shutting down computers at roughly 400 dental offices all over the U.S. The Digital Dental Record and Wisconsin-based cloud services provider, PerCSoft collaborated on DDS Safe, which was used by US-based dental practice offices in the US for medical record retention and backup.  Cybercriminals deployed REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware via this application to demand monies and regain access to their files.

As of today, we know that some companies did opt to pay the ransom while others wait for a decrypter to recover their encrypted files. The process has been slow, and some offices are finding it isn’t working at all.

REvil (Sodinokibi) ransomware is one of the most active and widespread ransomware strains seen this year, and this is the second time it has happened this summer.  Earlier in June, a group yet to be named, was breached using the same strain.

Follow Up

While Digital Dental Record learned of the breach on August 26th, and immediate action was taken, even a quick response couldn’t save the offices that were already infected.

This means that those offices are unable to run effectively while this situation is remedied, and some may run the risk of never fully recovering.

The Wisconsin Dental Association issued a statement confirming that DDS Safe remains a “WDA endorsed product” and that they are aware of the breach.

This likely isn’t the last story we’ll hear about a medical breach this week.  Numbers continue to rise, including the risk percentage that all providers face.  We must continue to educate ourselves on how to be proactive and not reactive as cybercrime is now an ongoing occurrence.

And above all, we need to acknowledge that even our best efforts do not remove the risk of others being less diligent in their practice of cybersecurity.

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HIPAA – Then & Now

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, better known as HIPAA, has been around since 1996, with the intent to protect patients by properly handling their protected health information (PHI).

With good intentions, HIPAA set forth to provide both security provisions and data privacy. The legislation was passed in the age of paper records, a time that required much different security measures than what we see today.

23 years later, it’s safe to say the ways in which we store, access, or transfer PHI have changed drastically. Of course, incredible changes and advancements in technology require changes to how we protect and safely handle patient data. Have we seen regulatory change with HIPAA regarding the digital age we now live in? Unfortunately, the answer is no.

The Digital Age

Today, the chances of you finding a healthcare provider that still relies on paper records is slim. The convenience of electronic medical records (EMRs) for both providers and patients is undeniable. From providing an easy way to share records with patients and other clinicians to allowing for simpler communication between patients and their providers, EMRs have changed the healthcare industry.

Unfortunately, with the pros come the cons. Digital medical records do pose some major risks, and as mentioned, HIPAA has made minimal progress when it comes to addressing them.

Hackers Exploiting Healthcare

According to the Protenus Breach Barometer, 2018 saw 15 million patient records compromised in 503 breaches, triple the number of compromised records in the previous year. 2019 has already seen some massive healthcare breaches, like the Quest Diagnostics data breach that affected at least 12 million patients.

So, why are hackers setting their sights on healthcare organizations? There are several reasons.

PHI yields high profits on the dark web. Where credit card information can quickly become worthless to cybercriminals, PHI is another story. Not only can healthcare breaches go undetected for sometimes lengthy periods of time, the data that is compromised in one is not something that the affected individual can easily change, like a birth date for example.

Hackers also know that the healthcare industry historically underinvests when it comes to IT security and training. What’s this mean for a cybercriminal? Lack of IT resources often means poor security, perhaps no firewall, outdated systems, no anti-virus, and more. In addition, lack of employee training means employees are ill-equipped to handle a cybercriminal’s malicious attempts at gaining access to the sensitive information they are expected to safeguard.

Furthermore, with the vast technology and highly connected systems used in the healthcare industry, one attack on a small system could lead to detrimental consequences for an organization. Cybercriminals know that organizations rely on these systems, and thus, suspect that attacking them may give them what they’re hoping for, like in a ransomware attack for example – pay the ransom and regain access to your systems, or ignore this request and lose your data.

Acknowledging the Cybersecurity Problem

With HIPAA being flawed and outdated, how do we move forward to protect patients and their data from cybercriminals?

Although HIPAA needs some major updating, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR), who is responsible for enforcing HIPAA, hasn’t completely ignored the issue at hand.

In December 2018, HHS issued cybersecurity guidelines in an effort to drive voluntary adoption of cybersecurity practices. This guidance sent a message that HHS’ is well-aware of the cybersecurity issues surrounding the healthcare industry.

In addition to the cybersecurity issues plaguing healthcare, protecting consumer data, in general, has become a hot topic with the passing of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). While Congress has tossed around the idea of a federal privacy legislation that would create a unified privacy law, there are no real signs of that being carried out anytime soon.

How Do We Fix This?

  1. Don’t wait around for a regulation. We cannot wait around for HIPAA to change. Nor Congress to pass a federal law to better protect the privacy of patients and consumers.
  2. Take a look around. It is critical for Covered Entities and Business Associates to tightly examine the patient data they are protecting. Cybercriminals don’t just seek financial information,  but rather, information that could yield a large profit for them. Information such as a birthdate, a Social Security number, or anything in between can prove to be more valuable. If you store, access, or transmit any kind of PHI, take a hard look at that data. If a hacker were to exploit it, what kind of damage could be done?
  3. Secure your systems. Now that you’ve thought through what kind of data you have access to, secure it. Don’t leave any data vulnerable. Cybercriminals can launch extremely detrimental attacks against individuals and organizations. Do everything you can to keep them from successfully carrying one out against you.
  4. Train employees. Make sure employees understand how valuable the data they have access to is, and the repercussion that could ensue if that data is compromised. Employees should know how to properly protect PHI, how to report a data breach, how to spot a phishing attempt or any other malicious attempt by cybercriminals, and everything in between.
  5. HIPAA is not optional – abide. Despite the flaws of HIPAA, it’s intended to protect patient data, which is valid and necessary, from an ethical point of view as well as a regulatory one. Whether you’re a Covered Entity or a Business Associate, it is your responsibility to comply with HIPAA.

Technology will continue to advance, and hackers will continue to do the same with their skill. It is up to us to continue to evolve our cybersecurity practices, which in turn will help better protect PHI.

 

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Hipaa Officer

Healthcare Systems

 

Healthcare organizations more and more require high end systems to provide doctors the data required to make rapid and accurate diagnoses. Digital patient records and medical imaging drive bandwidth greater as insurance providers and legislators still pressure healthcare providers to lessen costs. Data network solutions from NHR enable healthcare organizations to provide greater quality, readily available, and much more economical choose to meet their clinical and business objectives.

Expanding & Upgrading Systems on a tight budget – Modern healthcare uses burgeoning way to obtain digital diagnostic images. Ultrasounds, X-sun rays, PET scans and MRIs rapidly grow to many mega-bytes per record and bog lower network traffic. Pre-owned networking equipment from NHR enables health systems to construct the condition-of-the-art architecture they require without draining sources.

Regulatory Compliance – It’s imperative for Healthcare IT professionals to conform with HIPAA along with other government privacy rules while using the latest e-health technologies and looking after a high-notch security program under tight financial constraints. Security and integrity of patient records needs a robust network, and NHR places world-class technology inside the budget.

Downtime No Choice for Critical Systems – Medical professionals command real-time use of digitized patient information from the location, night or day. With lives at risk, network downtime isn’t an option. Substantial discounts on pre-owned equipment from NHR make redundant configurations an economic possibility. Onsite sparing strategies provide the epitome of immediate recovery. NetSure maintenance provides 24×7 support and then-day hardware substitute at a small fraction of manufacturer maintenance costs. These affordable solutions are perfect for protecting distribution or access level equipment – keeping every hospital and each physician connected.

Collaboration – Getting a higher-performance core facilitates multi-niche or multi-radiologist collaboration therefore the right individuals are associated with patient information to be able to enhance the time-to-treatment ratio and also to facilitate accessibility right specialists. And just what about online patient collaboration? Forward thinking health systems are exploring Telecare mixers allows patients to make use of online monitoring systems to upload data for their medical records. NHR’s expertise and cost-effective solutions help healthcare organizations innovate their systems and add new information sources.

 

 

As many of you know, an Electronic Health Record (EHR) is a digital record of a patient’s paper charts, updated in real-time.  This is an incredible option to have in the world of medicine, where information can be exchanged between doctors as well as business associates. It also provides an incredible benefit to the patient, giving them the best and most appropriate care when needed.

Overall, it really is a great thing to have so much information at your fingertips.  Unless that information gets into the wrong hands.  Which is exactly what happened to Allscripts Healthcare, an EHR company used by a variety of businesses in the medical field, including

hospitals, pharmacies and emergency service (ambulance) centers around the world.

Today Allscripts is working with the Department of Justice to pay $145 million in a preliminary settlement in response to an attack that exposed patient records which were thought to be safe in the cloud.   They were in violation of HIPAA, the HITECH Act’s EHR incentive program, and the Anti-Kickback Statute related to Practice Fusion – which was the company acquired by Allscripts in 2018.  This settlement will resolve both companies of all criminal and civil liability related to the investigation surrounding them both.

Unfortunately, they aren’t alone.  With the human component being the big risk factor in any organization, healthcare employs many, many people with patient access.  Each record is a gold mine for hackers, and therefore even one mistake can prove costly to an organization like we’re seeing with Allscripts.

How do we remedy this?  The first and most important step is to cover your assets. Cyber Insurance is going to increase your likelihood of surviving a breach, but once you have the end protection setup, get your employees trained.  And then repeat the training.  Conduct Security Risk Assessments at least annually, not only to comply with HIPAA but to identify security gaps which could leave your organization’s data up for grabs. Then, perform a vulnerability scan and find out if your system is as secure as you hope and believe.

Protection and prevention go hand in hand and in the world of healthcare, you can never have enough.

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Every day in my newsfeed I’m alerted to yet another compromise to patient information.  The headline isn’t always the attention-grabbing ones that we see when major credit companies or big-box retailers are exposed. These are just listed, one after the other, identifying locations of healthcare businesses, whether it be hospitals or private practice, that have had possible exposures.

If you are part of a private practice or small organization that works in the healthcare industry, you need to be aware: this is happening in your office.  It doesn’t always happen in the huge hospital with thousands of employees, the locations that we assume have less control over such a large employee base.  This is happening everywhere.  The doctor’s office with the same 3 people who have run the front office for years; the dentist you’ve been going to see since you were a child.

Patient data is a coveted treasure among cybercriminals and unless you are taking measures to protect it from end to end, you are at risk.  While working with a trusted IT advisor is critical, you also need to ensure that you are covered if a breach does occur.

Those compromises that are listed in my newsfeed don’t say that patient data was stolen and sold, they merely confirm the fact that it was seen by uncertified eyes.  That means, they don’t know what happened, but they do know that it could pose a problem in the future.  So, in order to protect their business and reputation, they are going to incur the cost of credit monitoring.  What you don’t hear about is the cost of the forensic expert or additional breach resources that were needed even to identify if data was compromised.

Verify that you have a cyber insurance policy to protect you in such an incident.  Without it, your business and its health are at risk of “not making it”.

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cyber insurance policy

Lytec Medical Billing Software

 

Lytec medical billing software has existed for nearly two decade now. Since 1989, Lytec medical billing software helps a large number of medical billing and medical professionals efficiently operate their practices.

Why is Lytec medical billing software really tick on the market isn’t the name that was decades within the making. It isn’t the marketing hype. Rather, it’s the perfect mixture of proven software and private service that allows physicians to select Lytec medical billing software total other software programs available. Lytec medical billing software not just increases the profitability of the practices, it may also help them cut lower on costs.

Now, nearly two decades following the first Lytec medical billing software hit the industry, a brand new kind of system emerges – the Lytec 2005! Using more than 40,000 systems offered in only the very first couple of several weeks of their release, Lytec medical billing software programs are the best choice used management and medical billing software. It’s all of the tools essential to effectively perform all of the functions which medical billing requires, including patient accounting, insurance billing, claims tracking, a / r, and appointment scheduling.

With regards to streamlining all of your medical billing and office tasks, Lytec medical billing software programs are what you want. A large number of customers agree that getting a Lytec medical billing software solution inside your office is a superb asset, not just to your practice but to this sort of profession in general.

 

HIPAA along with other Add-Ons

Lytec medical billing software programs are not without its little extras which makes that certain solution package stick out in the first. First, it’s HIPAA-compliant. The Insurance Probability and Accountability Act contain guidelines which medical practices are needed to follow along with as mandated by the us government of america. With Lytec’s HIPAA compliance system, you don’t need to understand the complex systems within the HIPAA and merely allow the software do all of it for you personally.

Other important options that come with the Lytec medical billing software includes the AccuScrubber MX, ApptBox, Direct Claims, Electronic Claims Processing, and much more. AccuScrubber is definitely an add-on computer software that you simply install to your computer to examine any healthcare claims you feed it. It really works right combined with the Lytec medical billing software without causing any complications, serving simply to boost the functions of every rather.

 

The ApptBox however is definitely an automated communications application that enables a physician’s office to inform and ensure a patient’s appointment along with other office related functions.

Use of intranets / extranets for HIPAA compliance

 

 

Collaboration among medical professionals, specifically in conditions that need the discussing of private patient information, requires an intranet or extranet that provides enhanced security measures.

 

The Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has three major needs:

 

• Protect the privacy of person health information

• Provide the required security to safeguard the privacy of person health information

• Provide standardization of electronic data interchange in healthcare transactions

Addressing this need, intranets and extranets are actually available which meet these security needs. While you think about the implementation of the intranet or extranet, look for an additional security measures:

 

• Secure server with 128bit SSL file encryption

• Server monitoring

• Secure IDs and passwords

• Defined authority levels

• Viewing permission controls

• Session break after half an hour

• The capability to disable user-specific cookies,

• The ability of users to alter their very own password,

• The capability to create strong passwords.

• Complete, united nations-editable activity log for security audits

 

Selecting an internet-based solution

 

To hurry the implementation of the intranet or extranet using these features, an more and more popular approach is by using a credit card applicatoin Company (ASP).

 

Additionally to supplying an instantaneous solution which has the right security measures in-place, the benefits of an internet-based ASP incorporate a less expensive of entry, an established track-record of performance and you don’t need to install intranet software or extranet software.

 

Informing patients about id theft risk isn’t a strict legal requirement although not letting them know can lead to serious effects, not just for that individual involved but in addition for a healthcare facility or clinical specialist who made the decision to not inform the patients of id theft risk. In the following paragraphs we’ll consider a quantity of good ideas , establish how, when and regardless of whether you should tell your patients concerning the possible chance of id theft.

The very first principle which it is best to try that you follow is among data security. Hopefully with proper home security systems in position the necessity to inform patients about breaches within this security is going to be minimal. Data security involves systems for example secure passwords on all of your computers, data file encryption, anti-spy ware software and then any other safety measures which your IT specialists might point to. If these safety measures are strictly stuck to and staff are been trained in these and the significance of data privacy then informing patients about id theft risk must only happen around the unusual occasion.

 

Many people believe that by informing patients too frequently of the chance of id theft that they’ll become de-sensitized towards the risk, however, for those who have correct home security systems in position you’ll hopefully not have to do it too frequently, and it’s important when there’s a genuine chance of id theft the people are informed of the risk to be able to take precautionary measures.

 

When the risk has elevated levels of a particular situation of breach of security it essential that people are informed of the chance of id theft on time plus they ought to be informed of the items a healthcare facility does to be able to catch the suspect and stop further harm from being carried out.

 

It might be also advisable during these conditions to supply guidance for patients concerned in regards to what measures they must be taking to be able to safeguard themselves – for example contacting the loan bureaus, creditors along with other parties.

Informing patients about id theft risk isn’t a strict legal requirement however, if hospitals are located negligent within this then your effects might be severe and add up to huge amount of money in fines. The effects for that patients involved may be severe, not just in relation to financial risk but additionally when it comes to personal health information which could land within the wrong hands. All data safety measures ought to be in position lengthy before need ever arises but when there’s a significant chance of id theft occurring then patients ought to be informed on time and given guidance regarding how they need to proceed with protecting themselves and just what a healthcare facility does in connection with this.

Take time to safeguard your identity so you too won???t need to endure losing. Should you settle payments online make certain you simply use secure sites to do this. Because of so many great firewalls and software for example Norton???s anti-virus it’s difficult to break lower such home security systems in position.

 

HIPAA stands for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is a group of regulations and standards which require major changes to how healthcare organizations handle information management. HIPAA covers such aspects of medical billing as coding, security, patient record management, reimbursement and care management as well as stringent codes for uniform transfer of electronic data, including routine changes and billing.

Learning the twists and turns of HIPAA may take time and time is something that most medical billing specialist can ill-afford. For this reason, software developers have come up with a type of software program that incorporates HIPAA compliance into the system. The result is the new HIPAA compliant medical billing software.

HIPAA compliant medical billing software builds the codes and standards of HIPAA into the structure of the system. Using this type of software product saves you from the hassle of studying the HIPAA guidelines and evaluating if your software systems meet them. Now, you no longer need to spend all this time learning the works because your HIPAA compliant software will do all the work for you in adhering to HIPAA EDI compliance rules.

The Three Sets of Standards

HIPAA compliant medical billing software adhere to three sets of standards. These are:

* Transaction and code sets
* Privacy
* Security

In order to meet regulation compliance, HIPAA compliant medical billing software must also cover the following entities:

* Health plans
* Health care clearinghouses
* Health care providers

The Benefits of HIPAA compliant Medical Billing Software

The main purpose of HIPAA compliant medical billing software is to assist medical billers meet the federally mandted HIPAA requirements. However, HIPAA compliant medical billing software may also have several other benefits aside from mere compliance. For instance, HIPAA assessment tools allow the billing agency to manage HIPAA assessments for each of its clients. They help medical practices and billing services increase productivity, reduce account receivables, and increase cash flow.

Another benefit of HIPAA compliant medical billing software is that it can simplify complicated administrative and financial data transactions. It does this by defining new codes and unique identifiers and by standardizing transactions and EDI formats.

Hospitals, physician office, home health agencies, nursing homes, affiliated providers, payers, employers, data services, and regulatory agencies are all impacted by HIPAA. That is why having an HIPAA compliant medical billing software program helps greatly in improving efficiency in practice management.

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